Scientific Glass Blowing, Randomly Generated Spaceships, and Watermelon Breeding: Lux Recommends #43

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #43, the newest edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (and want to receive this by email? Sign up here).

Articles

A Renaissance painting reveals how breeding changed watermelons: Artistic history meets artificial selection. — Sam

The dying breed of craftsmen behind the tools that make scientific research possible: A glimpse into a dying technical craft. Like A Canticle for Leibowitz. — Josh

Why is it so hard to create a national park? “What was true in 1872, when Yellowstone was dubbed the world’s first national park, is still true today with the brouhaha over the creation of a park in the Maine Woods: There’s almost always strong opposition when a proposal is made to add more land to the parks system”.— Adam K

A Unified Theory of Randomness: “random shapes can be categorized into various classes, that these classes have distinct properties of their own, and that some kinds of random objects have surprisingly clear connections with other kinds of random objects. Their work forms the beginning of a unified theory of geometric randomness.” — Sam

Cactus bugs compensate for lack of weapons with bigger balls: “We wanted to see if these males, who dropped a weapon, allocate more resources to another trait that increases reproductive success — testes.” — Bilal

SpaceshipGenerator: “procedurally generate 3D spaceships from a random seed” — Sam

RIP Seymour Papert, creator of the programming language Logo: “As early as 1968, Papert introduced the idea that computer programming and debugging can provide children a way to think about their own thinking and learn about their own learning.”

And in case you missed the news about flossing, it might not actually be important.

Books

Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: The authors take ideas and algorithms from computer science and show how they can help each of us in our daily lives. — Sam

Plus One by Christopher Noxon: A novel about being the husband of a successful Hollywood writer and show creator, by the husband of Jenji Kohan, creator of Weeds and Orange is the New Black. — Sam

Television

The Night Of: It’s The Wire x Oz x Making of A Murderer all in one. Incredible pacing, suspense, cinematography, morality, justice, intrigue, institutional decay and injustice. I caught up quickly and am pining for next 4 episodes. — Josh

Videos

A 7km jump without a chute into a net. Holy hell.— Adam G

World Surf League “Behind the Curtain”: Getting closer and closer to “ordinary” people experiencing the “extra-ordinary” whilst sitting on our couches. — Adam G

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